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Things to Come

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Things to Come

Published 1936
Topics Sci-Fi

Things to Come opens with a near-future forecast of Christmas 1940 in the metropolis of Everytown (obviously London), a city threatened by world war. Pacifist intellectuals, such as John Cabal (Massey), try to turn the tide. But Cabal's efforts go unheeded by the self-interested classes, and war arrives with tanks and aeroplanes and gas bombs. Everytown is destroyed by air raids (dramatically enacted four years before the real thing).The war continues for thirty years, its original purpose forgotten. As a result, civilization degenerates while "the Wandering Sickness" and devastation accelerate the spiral down until 1970, when the world has crumbled into a balkanized "Mad Max" Dark Ages. Everytown is ruled by a barbaric warlord, the Boss (Ralph Richardson), as the war continues on a Medieval scale.

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Run time 00:93:00
Producer Alexander Korda
Production Company London Film Production Inc
Audio/Visual sound, black and white


Reviewer: hrlaser - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 26, 2010
Subject: Sound and Color?.. This file is NOT in color..
I'm trying to find the colorized version of "Things to Come".. I know it's out there, because there are eBay sellers selling it on DVD.. this file's description says it's color, but I ran the progress bar through it, as far as I can tell, unless I've turned into a dog, the whole thing is black and white.. so is the other version on does anyone know of a FREE source of the colorized version?.. I'm giving the film a high rating because of its content.. I LOVE this movie.. and I'd LOVE to see a colorized version of it.. but this ain't it..

Reviewer: skybandit - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 11, 2009
Subject: World's First Post-Apocolyptic Film?
The hoaky, corny, stilted dialog and acting were all on par with the times, but the visuals were twenty years ahead of the Japanese penchance for destroying the planet of miniature models. Heavy handed? Sure! Wells was trying to save the world! At least he HAD a message, unlike anything done by the CGI junkies of modern Hollywood.
Reviewer: Hg80 - favoritefavoritefavorite - November 11, 2009
Subject: Book review/website
For those interested in H. G. Wells and "Things To Come".

A link to two items:

1.) A review "Things to Come: A Critical Text of the 1935 London First Edition, with an Introduction and Appendices" edited by of Leon Stover.

ISBN-10: 0786430389
ISBN-13: 978-0786430383

Even though he and Wells would have differed radically on politics, Dr. Stover shared with Wells what might be called "Cosmic Vision," a view of humanity in the context of vast reaches of space and eons of time. At an early age, he discovered the scientific romances of H.G. Wells, which awakened in him a "sense of wonder," and it became one of his life-long pursuits to explicate to himself the ramifications of those fascinating novels that took the long view, the cosmic evolutionary view, that could be summed up in one short question: Whither Mankind? The nine-volume The Annotated H.G. Wells was the result.

The film Things To Come was the Summa of Wells' ideas for a socialist World State. The Annotated H.G. Wells, Volume 9: Things To Come is the Summa of Dr. Stover's explication of Wells' scientific romances.

Stoverism, A Unique View of Wells' Utopian Ideas.

The Annotated H.G. Wells, Volume 9: Things To Come is Dr. Stover's explication of the film Things To Come as a propaganda vehicle for Wells to expound his brand of Saint-Simonian socialism. The film Things To Come was Wells' last will and testament to his world socialist brethren, the Summa of his ideas for a socialist World State. The following introductory remarks, which will serve as background for the readings from the book, is a brief outline of Dr. Stover's unique view of Wells' Utopian ideas. Members of the H.G. Wells Society in London referred to Dr. Stover's view of Wells as Stoverism.

Wells wasn't a Hindu. But, to present the summation of his Utopian ideas, his brand of Saint-Simonian world socialism, which was the reason for making the film Whither Mankind? (re-titled Things To Come as it went into production), Wells chose to make his characters avatars of the Hindu Trinity: Brahma The Creator, Siva The Destroyer, and Vishnu The Possessor, because, to Wells, the Hindu Trinity was emblematic of the structure of ancient Indo-European culture: The Philosopher-King (embodying the convoluted mirror-twin forces of Brahma and Siva) and The Subjects (embodying the simple, but schizophrenic force of Vishnu).

The Hindu Trinity represents the eternal tri-polar struggle of those raw cosmic forces that have driven the course of human affairs since civilization began: Brahma The Lawgiver (priest-theoretician) and Siva The Enforcer (king-soldier), the two arms of the all-powerful State, sometimes at war with each other, and always at war with Vishnu The Preserver (bourgiosie-landowner and peasant-worker). This tri-polar struggle was carried over from the times of Stonehenge, the Greek city-states, through Feudal times, into the Industrial Revolution, and even into Modern Times (the thirties, between World War I and the approaching World War II).

In Wells' view, comparing the examples of Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and even his own Great Britain to Plato's Republic, and to Saint-Simon's technocracy, The Rulers and their Executives were incompetent captives of Vishnu, valuing the possession of territories subsumed under the banners of nation-states that fragmented the planet and prevented the formation of a socialist World State, and The Ruled were selfish brutes, also captives of Vishnu, valuing the possession of women subsumed under the sanctions of marriage and family that prevented the emergence of a new evolutionary product: Cosmic Man, an entity made of all humanity, working together in common cause, as bees in a hive, submerging all vestiges of individuality.

Wells' socialist mentor-saint was Henri Saint-Simon, a nobleman who was stripped of his nobility by the French Revolution, and whose greatest disciple was Auguste Comte, the man who invented the word "socialism." Saint-Simon was the first thinker to see that the Industrial Revolution was more important than the political one. The French Revolution, in the name of the People, did nothing to put down the feudal and military system, and the old order soon came back. To overthrow feudalism once and for all, that was the original socialist idea. Saint-Simon advocated the control of society by its "industrial chiefs," they who were the aristocracy of talent, the technocrats, run under the guidance of a "Council of Newton," composed of scientists and engineers. This would be a competent socialist World State, and Vishnu (embodied in the willing proletariat) would be held eternally in check by Siva (embodied in the technocrats) under the direction of Brahma (embodied in the Council of Newton).

Wells wasn't a Marxist. In Wells' estimation, the closest approximation to this Saint-Simonian socialist "Heaven on Earth" was the original Soviet Union, set up by the Bolsheviks, under the leadership of V.I. Lenin, although--at the time--it hadn't achieved world-wide domination. It fell short of being the ideal socialist World State. We had Lenin and the Politburo embodying the Council of Newton, the Communist Party, the Red Army, and the Secret Police embodying the technocratic executives, all under the direction of the Politburo, and the (maybe-not-so-willing) Proletariat guided by the firm hand of the dedicated Communist Party bureaucrats (backed up by the Red Army and the Secret Police). Aside from the fact that it didn't yet control the entire planet, the biggest flaw in the new Soviet Union was that the leaders gave lip-service to the Marxist rhetoric of class-warfare. In private, Lenin and the Party Elite were technocratic socialists of the Saint-Simonian stripe. But, to appeal to the masses of the Proletariat, Communist Party propaganda had to be couched in terms of Marxist ideology. This Wells despised.

If we could define Communism, as practiced by the Communist Party under V.I. Lenin, as Marxism-Leninism, then Wellsism, Wells' brand of Saint-Simonian socialism, might be close to Communism minus Marxism; that is, Leninism. The main reason for the existence of the film Things To Come was to provide a propaganda vehicle for Wells to expound his brand of Saint-Simonian socialism. Wells used the characters John Cabal and his grandson, Oswald Cabal, as spokesmen for Wellsism. They embody the truest aspects of the Saint-Simonian Scientist-Technocrat, all Brahma and Siva working together to keep Vishnu in check!

Those who believe that Wells was a Marxist--the majority of critics who have attempted a political reading of Wells' scientific romances, and Things To Come, in particular--will probably wither under the searchlight of Dr. Stover's analysis of the film that was originally titled Whither Mankind? But, that's their problem!

2.) A website devoted to all things regarding the film.
Reviewer: grisly bear - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 19, 2009
Subject: Great Movie
Made in 1936, this movie correctly predicted World War 2 and they almost got the year right. The movie was wrong about the progress of the war and about the way Science and the Military bounce off each other to provide new and improved means of killing people. The movie is 100 percent right in saying that "war is hell" and the human race has to get over it if we are to achieve our full potential. This movie was based on an H.G. Wells book and it conveys the main theme of that book - that the human race should explore the universe instead of wasting money on armies and wars. This was also the main theme of Star Trek (the 1960s series and all the later re-makes) and it is a theme that never gets out of date. The MP4 file download provides a good standard of sound and picture. This movie is well worth watching.
Reviewer: ttocsmij - - August 4, 2009
Subject: Need A Note In Regard To Format
I downloaded the MP4 and MPlayer and then spent the better part of the afternoon trying to figure out why there was no sound (video playback was faultless). Going back through everything is when I noticed that ALL of the downloadable files here are in a sub-directory named "things_to_come_ipod_version"; as in Of course this leads me to believe now that I've got an iPod file which of course will be useless on my laptop without further processing which frankly I'm not doing as I am not an iPodhead.

The point of all this verbiage is that NO WHERE ON THE IMDB or ARCHIVE.NET pages are there any indications that these files are in IPod format. Had there been I would saved a lot of my time not using these pages.

BTW, there are three separate pages in Internet Archive for this same movie, Things To Come, and they all list different files (and apparently different formats) without any explanations in regard to those formats (vis-a-vis iPod or PC or whatever). NOT a criticism of your site but rather just pointing out that I've wasted nearly an entire day trying to make an iPod file play on a PC because the page description didn't mention the iPod encoding.

Have a great day.
Reviewer: moosie4242 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 22, 2008
With wars going on in all parts of the world this movie should be required watching for everyone. Perhaps a little too much of a doomsday message here, but one can easily relate to today's events. This film is easy to watch but hard to think about. Entertaing and frightning at the same time.
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